The Latest from Desmond Tutu

The archbishop emeritus Desmond Tutu, speaking to UC Berkeley students (Read the whole letter.):

I suggest, with humility, that the harm suffered from being confronted with opinions that challenge one’s own pales in comparison to the harm done by living a life under occupation and daily denial of basic rights and dignity. It is not with rancor that we criticize the Israeli government, but with hope, a hope that a better future can be made for both Israelis and Palestinians, a future in which both the violence of the occupier and the resulting violent resistance of the occupied come to an end, and where one people need not rule over another, engendering suffering, humiliation, and retaliation.

For some time now, UC Berkeley students have been fighting for the university to divest from Israel. (Remember that UCB also led the fight to divest from South Africa to protest apartheid.) It’s been a difficult road. The bill that Tutu praises in his letter has been vetoed by President Smelko and students are again working to get the bill recognized. For those of you in the Berkeley area, you can support them at the ASUC meeting this week.

I know that complicated feelings are attached to Israel’s occupation of Palestine, but for me, it comes down to this: the suffering of the Palestinian people is real. The abuses by the Israeli government are real. We work towards peace, and there is no peace without justice.

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